The bell above the shop door made a sharp tickling noise and the dark haired boy behind the counter looked up calmly, his face was emotionless but handsome and charming and he made for a good shop keeper even though he was merely an employee.
"Ms Smith" the boy said smoothly an easy going smile masking his features. "Mr. Riddle" the woman tittered looking both ways as if someone were seconds from finding her in the dodgy shop that was Borgin and Burkes. "Please Ms Smith call me Tom" the young man took her offered hand and kissed the back of it while holding back a grimace. "Oh Tom what a charmer you are!" she trilled as she blushed furiously.
"what can I do for you today Ms. Smith?" he said formally as he returned to his spot behind the counter his patience firm but waning. "Well..." she looked both ways once more and noted the shadow of Mr. Burke in the back room. "Well" she began again lowering her voice, "I need an appraisal Tom but I dare not bring the items from my home..Will you come to tea tomorrow at noon and appraise my artifacts?" the older woman's three chins wobbled as she tried to seem conspiratorial. "It just so happens I have tomorrow off, It shall be my honor" he smiled. "Oh Tom you are such a dear! please keep this from Mr. Burke he'd never let me rest if he knew I'd shown it to you and I am most certainly not selling not to Burke or anyone" her face transformed into a serious frown. "Not a word will pass my lips" he said escorting her to the door.
The bell rang out in a farewell and she waved to him as she pulled up the pale pink hood of her robe and tried to sneak out of knockturn alley. "Tom, who were that boy!" Mr. Burke demanded from the back of the shop. "Oh just Ms. Smith coming around to gossip" he lied smoothly. "Mr. Burke I am going to leave for the evening, good day to you sir". Pulling on his dark cloak Tom left the shop and disappeared into the alley.
As the clock struck noon Tom could hear the sound of a grandfather clock booming from the sitting room while he rapped the door knocker three times before taking a step back. Ms. Smith lived in a lavish home with sprawling lawns and a lopsided shed in the corner field. He took this all in and disgust, to think such a fat slob could own such an estate.
Ms. Smith answered the door herself a vision of soft pinks and lavenders, taking her hand he grimaced slightly she smelt as if she had bathed in bath salts for the last hours since he had seen her. "Oh Tom it is so good to see you do come in, quick now theres a good lad!" She trilled all but yanking him into the entry hall and slamming the door shut she used six muggle locks and five protective charms. "I fired the help I became rather suspicious of them" she said answering a question he did not feel like asking.
Leading him into the drawing room he sat down on a couch that could have swallowed him whole if he hadn't perched on the edge his satchel leaning against his leg. "Tea tom?" she said nervously her hands shaking as she poured him a cup and handed it to him. Taking an experimental sip he chocked down the grass like liquid and smiled "Thank you Ms. Smith its an honor to be here" "Oh Tom" she trilled about to start going on and on about how charming he is when he held up a hand "Shall we get started then?"
The voluptuous woman nodded her chins shaking and her hair bobbing a few extra shakes as she shakily walked to the glass cabinet, opening the doors she picked up a pendent on a long chain and brought it to the table and laid it on a velvet pillow she had left on the table just for this moment. Turning her back she returned to the cabinet. Looking down at the pendent Tom's heart skipped a beat.
'it can't be' he thought to himself 'this insane cow has slytherin's locket!' picking it up he examined it closely and took out an eye magnifier and looked at every detail, the green studs that represented the S and the silver chain that he had seen in so many portrayals of Salazar himself. As Ms. Smith returned she noticed him studying the locket "What do you think the worth is?" she asked him as she placed a cup on a matching velvet pillow.
The Hufflepuff caught his eye and he gasped so loudly he almost spurt tea on his nice linen button down shirt. Regaining composure he said "Ms Smith I could not possibly appraise these treasures!" he took the cup of Helga Hufflepuff and held it in his hand as if he had been given Merlin's wand. "How in Merlins name did you come about these items?"
"Well I bought it from Burke of course!" she declared proudly "That man had no idea what it was and when he figured it out he came knocking on my door demanding a higher price but I refused, I cleaned up these treasures shined them up nice and good and never let anyone touch them, not until you of course, I rarely take them from the case!"
"If you are not selling why do you wish to have an appraisal" he asked his eyes burning. He HAD to own these items no matter what the cost. "I just wished to know how much I could sell them for eventually" she shrugged it off her hair bobbing with the movement. Rage bubbled inside of Tom's heart but he painfully smiled "Why Ms. Smith I'd be honored if you would sell them to me"
"No! No! I am not selling" she insisted, Her chins wobbling as she slammed a pudgy fist on the table upsetting one of the tea cups. Rushing to mop up the mess she said "Oh dear me Tom please forgive I don't normally have a temper!" picking up the cups she rushed from the room to clean up in the kitchen.
Tom sat back in the couch and weighed his options, he could use imperio on her but that would last so long, he could erase her memory but Burke knew she owned the item. Nodding to himself he knew the only choice was to kill her, he could not leave today without those items.
Bustling back into the room Tom stood straightening his black tie and looking the woman straight in the eye "Well Ms. Smith, it has been...horrid visiting you today" taken aback she struggled to find words but her tongue failed her. "Are...Are you leaving then?" she asked "Oh no..Ms. Smith...you are leaving"
Tom drew his wand and pointed it firmly at her heart "T..Tom now be a good lad don't do this you know you don't want to" she sputtered placing a piggish hand over her heart and taking a few steps back only to bump into a piano. Slamming into the keys the baritone notes rang through the house and by the sound of it they were long since tuned. She drew her wand and pointed it at him, her hand shaking "Do..don't make me fight you Thomas!" she declared bolder then she felt.
Chuckling softly he disarmed her and caught her flying wand "Do I detect...elm with a unicorn hair core...eleven and a half inches..slightly springy" sheathing his own wand he pointed her wand at her "Goodbye Ms. Smith, you waste of pure blood" he said smoothly as a flash of green light enveloped her. Crumpling against the piano her lifeless body fell to the floor with a thud.
Breaking the woman's wand in half he dropped the pieces on the floor and strode over to the table, picking up the locket he stared at it with admiration before slipping the locket around his neck and placing the cup safely in his satchel. Slipping into his robe he left the house smiling.
A few days passed and the words "Hepzibah Smith Found Dead In Her Lavish Home" splashed the front page of the Daily Prophet. Tom picked up the prophet and read the headlines suppressing a smile as Mr. Burke looked over his shoulder "Damn shame in'it?" he commented "Damn shame" Inwardly smiling Tom replied "Indeed"